OceanView eyes pair of Falmouth projects

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FALMOUTH — Owners of the OceanView retirement community want to add affordable senior housing and expand onto town property at the former Plummer School, and build cottages on other newly acquired land.

Matt Teare, director of development at Seacoast Management Co., which is associated with OceanView, said the company is asking the Town Council to amend the original master plan for the retirement community overlay district and the elementary school overlay district.

Teare said the major proposal seeks more space to build a 36-unit senior apartment building in the Plummer School in the elementary school district, and to expand that building onto a portion of town-owned land.

He said the apartments, which would be affordable to moderate income, would not be part of OceanView, but would be a continuation of a process of developing “civic- and public-oriented things on the site.”

“We’ve already done some things,” Teare said. “Lunt School has auditorium, the town shares that with OceanView. We took the old playing area and turned that into a green. But the big thing that’s been outstanding is what will happen to Plummer-Motz.”

Teare said the town has decided to spend the money to move community services into the Motz building, and originally Falmouth Memorial Library had looked into moving to the Plummer School, but ultimately decided against it.

Town Manager Nathan Poore said the modifications for senior living “are not entirely news to the town,” since they had been discussed during the original master plan negotiations.

“We’ve been working with town about what the whole site will look like and how to we make it a nice place for town residents to visit,” Teare added.

He said they are also proposing an update to the master plan for three recently purchased lots along Middle Road in the retirement community overlay district. The update would allow additional cottage units on these lots, which Teare said would be part of the “standard OceanView community.” He said the conceptual plan shows 12-15 lots on the properties.

Teare said OceanView will work with town staff and Councilors Karen Farber and David Goldberg “to go over details of those plans, determine what OceanView will pay for and what the town will pay for relative to Plummer-Motz complex.”

“There will be series of meetings, then public hearings, and if all goes well in a few months the Town Council would vote for the overlay district,” Teare said. Following council approval, the proposal would then move to the Planning Board.

Poore said the town is pleased overall with the designs, and is working to negotiate final details. He said the Town Council will likely use an executive session at its April 27 meeting to discuss the transfer of town-owned land to OceanView.

Teare and Poore said the two projects have different waiting periods and can’t be done together because one of the districts requires a slightly longer public notice period.

OceanView and the council originally developed a master plan in 2012, which allowed OceanView to expand onto town-owned properties including the former Lunt and Plummer-Motz schools.

The plan permitted an expansion of cottage units, additional multiplex style housing, memory-care related services and residential units, commercial uses in Lunt School, an auditorium for public and private use in the former Lunt gymnasium, and an enhanced green and open area between Plummer and Lunt.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.